San Juan Travel Guide

Plan your perfect trip to San Juan, Bolivia with our comprehensive travel guide. Find out about the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and more!

Introduction to San Juan

San Juan, located in the Potosí department of Bolivia, is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists. This charming town boasts a rich history, picturesque landscapes, and a strong cultural heritage. San Juan is also the perfect base for exploring the nearby natural wonders, such as the Uyuni Salt Flats and the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve.

List of Places to Visit in San Juan

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

1. San Juan Church

The San Juan Church is a beautiful colonial-era church that dates back to the 16th century. The church is famous for its stunning baroque facade and intricate interior design.

2. Casa Nacional de la Moneda

The Casa Nacional de la Moneda is a historic mint that was built in the 18th century. It played a significant historical role in Bolivia’s fight for independence. The museum now showcases the history of Bolivia’s currency and the minting process.

Natural Attractions of San Juan: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

1. San Juan Waterfalls

The San Juan Waterfalls are a series of stunning cascades that are nestled amidst breathtaking scenery. Hiking to the waterfalls is a popular activity and offers visitors a chance to appreciate the beauty of the Andean landscapes.

2. Salar de Chalviri

Salar de Chalviri is a salt flat located near San Juan that offers visitors a surreal experience. The area is home to hot springs, geysers, and unique rock formations. The views at sunset are particularly breathtaking.

Hiking/Biking Routes of San Juan

San Juan is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with several hiking and biking routes available for visitors to explore. Some of the popular routes include the hike to San Juan Waterfalls and the bike ride to the Salar de Chalviri.

Best Things to Do in San Juan: Activities and Tours

1. Uyuni Salt Flats Tour

San Juan is the perfect place to start your Uyuni Salt Flats Tour. The tours offer visitors a chance to experience Bolivia’s incredible natural beauty up close. The tours usually last a few days and include visits to the salt flats, flamingo reserves, and unique landscapes.

2. Star-Gazing

San Juan is renowned for its clear night skies, which offer perfect conditions for stargazing. Visitors can join a guided star-gazing tour to learn more about the constellations and explore the night sky.

Week-Long Itinerary for San Juan

Day 1: Arrival in San Juan and exploring the town Day 2: Hike to San Juan Waterfalls Day 3: Visit the Casa Nacional de la Moneda and explore the town Day 4-6: Uyuni Salt Flats Tour Day 7: Return to San Juan

Food and Drink Scene of San Juan

Must-Try Dishes

1. Chicharrón

Chicharrón is a popular Bolivian dish that features crispy, fried pork served with yucca and aji sauce. It is a must-try when visiting San Juan.

2. Picante de Pollo

Picante de Pollo is a spicy chicken stew that is served with potatoes, rice, and vegetables. It is a traditional Bolivian dish that is packed with flavor.

Local Beverages

1. Api Morado

Api Morado is a hot drink made from purple corn that is often served with cinnamon and cloves. It is a comforting and warming beverage that is popular among locals.

2. Singani

Singani is Bolivia’s national liquor, made from the distillation of white Muscat of Alexandria grapes. It can be enjoyed neat or in a cocktail.

Where to Stay in San Juan: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

1. Hostal La Joya

Hostal La Joya is a budget-friendly option that offers clean and comfortable rooms. It is located in the heart of San Juan, making it a convenient option for exploring the town.

2. Kachi Lodge

For a more luxurious experience, Kachi Lodge offers visitors a chance to stay in a unique dome-shaped room that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

What to Buy in San Juan: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home


San Juan is famous for its intricate textiles that feature colorful patterns and designs. Visitors can purchase blankets, scarves, and other textiles as souvenirs or gifts.


The Uyuni Salt Flats are located near San Juan, making it the perfect place to purchase salt as a souvenir. The salt is a popular ingredient in Bolivian cuisine and is also used as a natural remedy for minor ailments.

Local Culture and Customs of San Juan

San Juan is a predominantly indigenous town, and visitors are encouraged to respect the local customs and traditions. It is important to dress modestly when visiting churches or other religious sites.

Best Time to Visit San Juan

The best time to visit San Juan is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. This is when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are more enjoyable.

Do’s and Don’ts of San Juan


  • Respect the local customs and traditions.
  • Dress appropriately when visiting religious sites.
  • Try the local cuisine and beverages.


  • Take photos of people without their permission.
  • Visit the Uyuni Salt Flats during the rainy season, as the flats can flood.

Safety and Health

Safety in San Juan

San Juan is a safe town, but it is always advisable to take precautions, such as not carrying large sums of money and avoiding walking alone at night.

Health in San Juan

Altitude sickness can be a concern when traveling to San Juan, as the town is located at a high altitude. Visitors are advised to take it easy for the first few days and drink plenty of water. It is also a good idea to pack basic first aid supplies.

Getting to San Juan: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near San Juan

The nearest airport to San Juan is the Juana Azurduy de Padilla International Airport, located in Sucre. From there, visitors can hire a taxi or take a bus to San Juan.

Bus Stations Near San Juan

Buses from Sucre and Potosi regularly travel to San Juan. Visitors can also take a taxi or hire a private car for transportation.

Other Options

Visitors can also join a tour group, which will typically include transportation to and from San Juan.

How to Get Around in San Juan

San Juan is a small town that is easily walkable. Visitors can also hire a taxi or take a public bus to travel around the town.

Where to Go Next from San Juan: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

1. Uyuni Salt Flats

The Uyuni Salt Flats are located near San Juan and are a must-visit destination. Visitors can take a tour of the salt flats to explore the unique landscapes and natural wonders.

2. Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve

The Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is located near the Uyuni Salt Flats and is a protected area that is home to a variety of wildlife, including flamingos, vicuñas, and Andean foxes.


San Juan is a hidden gem that is waiting to be explored. From its rich history, stunning landscapes, and unique cultural heritage, San Juan has something to offer everyone. With this comprehensive travel guide, you can plan the perfect trip to San Juan and experience the best that Bolivia has to offer.